The Parent Trip: They grow up so fast
By Shelby Cain
They grow up so fast. I think it’s one of the first things you hear about kids.
Someone pulls you aside on the street to enlighten you with this information the first time you venture out with your baby. You chuckle politely and pull your stretched out coat a little more snuggly around your stretched out body, and adjust your baby carrier that’s fastened so tightly around your torso it feels like a straight jacket.
The stranger peeks in to get a better look and you think; if they wake the baby up I might actually lay down on the sidewalk and cry, or hit this person so hard that they have to lay down on the sidewalk and cry. I can count on one hand how many hours I’ve slept in the last four days and most of my parts hurt for reasons that are too embarrassing to talk about with anyone and I worry when the baby cries and I worry when the baby doesn’t cry and so no, stranger on the street, I would not describe this time as flying by.
And then you blink, and your three year old is starting to say ‘like’ in front of 90 per cent of the words in her sentences, and that first baby who made your entire life feel like it was moving in slow motion and made some days feel extraordinarily endless is five. And writing in her diary. About what? I haven’t checked. I would imagine it is filled with the collection of words she knows, which do not actually make sentences, and some pictures of horses and dogs. It doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that I have no idea where the time has gone. My babies are kids, and their brains are expanding with their bodies at warp speed.
The other day Five asked me if she was allowed to take her bed with her when she moved out, or if she’d need to buy another one. What? I may have fallen to my knees. When I regained my composure I explained to her that by the time she would be ready to move away from home it would be so far into the future that beds might float. Gravity free. Who knows?
She looked at me like a wise old owl and said “Mom, you have to let us grow up you know.” Ouch. I know, but indulge me a little longer. I got them a special snack, even though dinner was imminent, and we snuggled on the couch and read Robert Munch.
So, stranger on the street, and the hundreds of people who came after you, you were all right. They do grow up fast. Hang on tight.